Accident or Criminal Neglect by the Powerful

Posted on December 1, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Politics
31 Comments
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Adil Najam

Just saw a shocking and sad news report that suggests that an official government car, reportedly in the use of the Syed Safwanullah, Federal Minister of Housing and Works, reportedly being driven by one of his relatives, crushed to death a 6-year old child, whose mutilated body was found two days later in the same car.

The misbahavior of those in power has been something we have written about before as we did with the antics of our Law Minister (also here). We have sometimes been surprised that those in power actually read this blog and sometimes respond (as the MQM MNA from Karachi did on the ATP post about him). We are not sure if we will hear from Minister sahib (also affiliated with MQM) this time, but we will certainly be keeping watch on developments.

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To be fair, let me say that the facts reported in this item are still unclear enough that one cannot be fully sure of where the blame lies. But it is also fair that the facts as laid out in by The News are disturbing enough that we must not ignore them and must demand more clarity and information from the Minister as well as the police.

The statements from the police suggest that they may actually conduct an open and fair enquiry. That things are still shrouded in mystery two days after the event, however, does not bode well. Having praised Islamabad police recently, I certainly hope they do not disappoint.

Here are the details from The News story:

Mystery shrouds the death of a six-year-old boy, who was crushed by a federal minister’s official limousine allegedly driven by a woman relative of the VIP, even two days after the occurrence. Both the police and parents of the child have no clue about the person in the driving seat. Reportedly, the woman driving the vehicle which hit the boy, stopped before putting him in the Land Cruiser and speeding away. On Wednesday, the mutilated and decomposed body of the boy was found by the police in the same Land Cruiser bearing green registration plate (of Government of Pakistan) – GP-2087 – at G-8 Markaz.

When contacted, Federal Minister for Housing and Works Syed Safwanullah said the Land Cruiser was not a full-time staff vehicle allocated to him. “It was rarely used by me and my family,” he said.

The FIR lodged with the Margalla police station confirmed the child – Izzatullah, an Afghan national – was crushed to death by a woman driver. But the complaint lodged by the minister’s aide with another police station — the Secretariat — of the federal capital, relates a different story. Lodged on November 29, the minister’s aide claims the official Land Cruiser along with the driver was missing since November 28 when the accident actually occurred. The Land Cruiser and the body were found exactly four hours after the report of the minister’s aide.

The shocking incident took place on the main road of the capital’s G-9/4 sector near ‘Tuesday Bazaar’ where hundreds of people witnessed a minor boy being crushed by a Land Cruiser driven by a woman, who then put the wounded boy in her vehicle and sped away, Habibullah, grandfather of the victim, claimed while talking to this correspondent after receiving the body from the PIMS hospital.

Meanwhile, Habibullah, resident of 178, street 93, G-9/4, Islamabad lodged a complaint with the Margalla police station saying, “On Tuesday November 28 at about 4pm, a Land Cruiser bearing registration number GP-2087 hit my grandson — Izzatullah, 6, son of Hadayatullah near Peshawar Mor and sped away after putting him in the vehicle”. He said in his written complaint that his family friend found the Land Cruiser parked on the double road near G-8 Markaz. Quoting his three sons who were accompanying the deceased, he confirmed a woman was driving the Land Cruiser.

Conversely, staff of the minister’s house lodged a complaint with the Secretariat police station through a supervisor of Pak PWD, claiming that the Land Cruiser and driver were both missing since last Tuesday when the accident occurred. Muhammad Afzal, Supervisor Pak PWD workshop I-11, submitted a written application saying the Land Cruiser bearing registration number GP-2087 was in the use of federal minister for housing and works, Syed Safwanullah.

He said, “On November 29, Jafar Hussain (claiming to be a son and unofficial PSO of the minister), summoned him at the minister’s house (6, Minister’s Enclave) and directed me to file a complaint with the concerned police station that the Land Cruiser along with the driver — Tariq Mehmood — is missing since November 28″. The police registered the report (number 31 dated 29-11-2006) at 8.30pm. Syed Safwanullah while talking to this correspondent denied any woman was driving the Land Cruiser and said his driver was heading to the workshop when the incident took place.

Police insiders aver that a daughter or close relative of the minister was driving the vehicle even as the minister claimed: “There is no woman in my house.” Hidayatullah, father of the victim, said while talking to The News that his son was going to ‘Tuesday Bazaar’ along with his cousins, less than 10 years of age, when the Land Cruiser trampled him. He was sure that a woman was driving the green numbered vehicle.

SSP Islamabad Sikandar Hayat told The News that law was equal for all. He said the police would apprehend Tariq Mehmood, the driver of the vehicle and then inquire about the claim of aggrieved party that a woman was driving the vehicle. “The case will be dealt with according to the law,” he claimed. The victim was student of class-III at a local school, Habibullah, grandfather of the victim said. He said they were Afghans belonging to a poor family.

The hospital sources, quoting the external autopsy report disclosed that the minor had not died on the spot but expired after about 12 hours of the accident and they kept the body for more than 20 hours. The police, however, have registered the case against ‘unknown’ driver under Section 322/201/279 PPC and started investigation.

The story speaks for itself, which is why I have quoted it in full here. I will be keeping an eye out for more details on this. Readers, if you read or hear anything do please share. Vigilance and a demand for information is all that we can do, but let us never be negligent in doing either; because our silence would not just be complacency, it will be complicity.

31 Comments on “Accident or Criminal Neglect by the Powerful”

  1. MQ says:
    December 1st, 2006 11:02 am

    Adil,

    When I read the shocking story last night I was was hoping that you would notice the story too and bring it up on the blog. I am glad you did.

    While the story is still too sketchy to say anything definitively what is undisputed, however, is that a child has been killed by a government owned vehicle driven by a reckless driver, allegedly a woman. Let us see how the police handles this case.

    I vaguely remember a case some years ago when senator Wasim Sajjad’s son ran over and killed a pedestrian in Islamabad. Does anyone know what happened to that case?

  2. Roshan Malik says:
    December 1st, 2006 12:25 pm

    Dawn filed this story differntly that the regular driver of the vehicle was on leave and the other driver’s wife was driving the vehicle.

    Govt-owned vehicle kills Afghan boy

    http://www.dawn.com/2006/12/01/nat8.htm

  3. Anwar says:
    December 1st, 2006 3:53 pm

    I was alarmed and disturbed by the news and I hope that the family of this young fellow will be fairly compensated for this tragedy.
    I was disappointed by the last part of the news, “SSP Islamabad Sikandar Hayat told The News that law was equal for all. He said the police would apprehend Tariq Mehmood, the driver of the vehicle and then inquire about the claim of aggrieved party that a woman was driving the vehicle.” If law was indeed equal then the first perosn to be held accountable is Mr. Safwanullah and not the driver of a parked vehicle.

  4. Ghalib says:
    December 1st, 2006 4:31 pm

    nothing will happen! trust me! they will get the driver will beat him!he will confess! now the car has been said to be missing since 28 Nov another twist and its known to all the in pakistan gettin a report filed in back dates is piece of cake for a federal minister!the sayin of the minister that there is no woman in his house show how hes defending himself.its pathetic when ppl like them are in a govt where they are influencial coz of their ethnic politics and hold the key to the govt. over seen by the JUST and ANGEL Musharaf!
    Its a pity case will go into courts and after a week everyone will forget it!now its the time for the claimants of democracy an human rights Asma Jhangirs to come in front an fight for the poor family.this will go as it went with Mukhtaraan Mai and Dr Shazia,an remmeber Mush even said abt Shazia that women like them do this to get to countries like UK an USA!and that he personally thinks that the captian hasnt done it!(A for army A fer Angels)what a shame its for country when he meets a politician like Altaf that questions 2 Nation theory and is on asylum in UK!what different has he done than shazias and mukhtaraan!an even Nawaz y hes in saudia an not hanged? ull let criminals go?its the policy of a criminal(Mush) to grant another criminal(nawaz)to have fun!(to add a personal note my sources in army has told me that the Dr S. case was a mutual consent of captian and the doctor…can u digest it???)when the professionals in country like the docs workin far away from home are treated like this forget abt the kids!y then Dr. is in UK and captian is in army y not hang em both? they applied the same with them let both go!!!
    its not that im anti mush or altaf or anti benzair or nawaz its just that these morons have created a “fish Market” and the names given the “development of democracy ” by a man in uniform that has broken the army oath of not being in politics!when the top is this way what to expect for a poor child of 6 years being run over in day light this story will fade away witht the same intensity it rose!!!
    ITS REALLY A SHAME FOR US BEING PAKISTANIS AND NOT DOING ANY THING! AND I ADMITT IT ITS EVEN OUR OWN FAULT!COME TOGETHER AND FIGHT THESE EVIL MORONS!

  5. Sobaan says:
    December 1st, 2006 10:44 pm

    I agree with Ghalib, nothing will happen! simply nothing!!! If there was fair justice in our beloved country, things would have been much much different.

  6. Zakintosh says:
    December 1st, 2006 11:07 pm

    That makes two gruesome stories in a day. Check out http://www.kidvai.com/zak/2006/12/not-so-sweet-side-of-business.html

    BTW, driver Tariq Mehmood needs to fear for his life, too.

  7. Eidee Man says:
    December 1st, 2006 11:12 pm

    This is so disgusting and disturbing…I’m incensed..a child being !!CRUSHED!! by a car because of these decadent scum-of-the-earth people.

    Add that to the list…MQM has always had blood on its hands. From their former ‘glory’ of stuff like Hathora Group (people going in and bashing heads with hammers) to their turning of a once-great city of Karachi into a was-zone to this incident. Seems like the ‘War on Terror’ should focus on MQM as well as Al-Qaeda.

  8. Roshan Malik says:
    December 1st, 2006 11:57 pm

    Mystery of minor’s killing resolved
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=4514

  9. TURAB says:
    December 2nd, 2006 3:02 am

    I want to share my experience that justice does exist in Pakistan. My friend’s dad is one of the most honest and compasionate about his work in the Judicary. Musharraf’s nephew was involved in the car accident and he had a hit a motorcycle injuring the driver and killed the passenger, a 14 year old Kid. So one day there was all kinds of police officers and government officials roaming around the court premises. When Uncle inquired about the tense situation only then he came to know that the defendant was saga nephew of Mushi.
    However, when the nephew appeared in the court he was all shaky and nervous. However, according to the money if there can be a settlement in terms of blood money then an agreement can be reached and if not then the law is tough.
    Eventually the settlement was reached and the trail went ahead. However, point to note is that throughout or even before the proceedings there was no pressure, no higher up calls nor any sort of intervention/influence from any level.
    Bottom line, the nephew was treated as any other citizen and justice was served. (However, no amount of money can ever replace a life).

    I hope this woman is apprehended and proper athorities deal with her and others properly.

  10. Khadija Amjad says:
    December 2nd, 2006 5:50 am

    Who decides to give these ‘evil morons’ all these perks (such as free cars, staff, residences, etc.) that they dont deserve and we cant afford???
    The MNA guy’s website states law to be one of his legislative areas of interest. Holy cow.
    Can things get much worse before they start getting better? Maybe we should take a cue from the French Revolution…
    What do we do with these people??

  11. MQ says:
    December 2nd, 2006 10:57 am

    Folks,

    You must have read by now that the mysterious woman who was seen driving the government vehicle has been identified. She is the wife of an aide to the federal minister in question. According to the report, “baji” used to use the vehicle for personal errands and was a bad driver. The minister does not seem to be directly involved. So, let’s leave him alone unless he tries to influence the course of justice in this case.

    But do you know what course justice would take? Under the Qisas and Diyat laws, again promulgated by that great “merde Momin”, one can pay compensation to the heirs of the person murdered or killed and go free. Such crimes are treated as crimes against individuals, not against the state or society. This is how this case will be settled. US$ 5,000 to 10,000 will be paid to the parents of the child and “baji” will be free to continue her joyrides. It is all legal in the land of pure and holy.

  12. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    December 2nd, 2006 11:14 am

    Adil Najam’s promise to keep an eye out for this “story.”
    Unfortunately, the local media habitually moves on to other stories after a few days, so who will provide information so that Adil Najam is able to “keep an eye out”??????

    BTW another MAJOR story about The UN Representative transgressing Paki laws has been making the pages of Daily News,Islamabad for the last few days and seems to have escaped the “Hawkeye” of Adil Najam. It is worth a post.

  13. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    December 2nd, 2006 11:22 am

    Sorry. Please add on my first line after story “is laudable” Thanks.

  14. ahmed says:
    December 2nd, 2006 1:47 pm

    $5000 to $ 10000 (Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 6 lakhs) is too much I think . Probably $1000 to $ 3000 should take care of the this ‘little matter’. Human life after all is rather cheap in our country. Unless, the complainant decides on ‘an eye for an eye’ solution— as happened with that young man from England who killed the taxi driver in self defence,was sentenced to death, and waited 18 years to be hanged. Mercifully he was not . But thereby hangs another tale.

  15. Eidee Man says:
    December 2nd, 2006 7:55 pm

    @Deeda-i-Beena

    I’m confused by your posts. I’m not one of the sponsors of this blog and hence don’t speak for them but I don’t think they are trying to be a full-fledged news agency. I guess that if you write a thoughtful, pertinent article based on evidence, they’d be happy to post it.

  16. Anwar says:
    December 3rd, 2006 11:53 am

    During the initial assault on Talibans, US gave out $10 for each “colateral damage.” The rate jumped to $100 a year ago and after hitting weddings, upto $1000 per person was payed to the familes of the deceased… I guess father of this child will receive few thousands rupees plus sympathies. Being an Afghan refugee, he will end up being harassed and even deproted if he pushes for justice.
    Let us hope that by highlighting their plight, at least other relatives of the bureaucrats will voluntarily reduce their fringe benefits

  17. Phil says:
    December 4th, 2006 6:42 am

    [quote comment="13402"]Folks,

    You must have read by now that the mysterious woman who was seen driving the government vehicle has been identified. She is the wife of an aide to the federal minister in question. According to the report, “baji” used to use the vehicle for personal errands and was a bad driver. The minister does not seem to be directly involved. So, let’s leave him alone unless he tries to influence the course of justice in this case.

    But do you know what course justice would take? Under the Qisas and Diyat laws, again promulgated by that great “merde Momin”, one can pay compensation to the heirs of the person murdered or killed and go free. Such crimes are treated as crimes against individuals, not against the state or society. This is how this case will be settled. US$ 5,000 to 10,000 will be paid to the parents of the child and “baji” will be free to continue her joyrides. It is all legal in the land of pure and holy.[/quote]If we think, as the victim or the criminal that we can earn freedom by giving or recieving a few thousand dollars, then we have a psychological problem with how this world works. The murderes should be put into jails for a certian period of time that helps them ‘realize’ what wrong they have done.

    This is not the only high profile car accident murder in Pakistan in a week’s time.

    The miniter to whoms this car belonged is as much responsible for the the death of the nondescript as that ‘baji’. There is no reason to let the car out of his sight and driven by someone not belonging to his family, or his driver.

    The least the minister could do is present the criminal to the courts of justice, if he is really true to his job… -.-

  18. MQ says:
    December 4th, 2006 7:27 am

    Phil,

    You are right. People involved in such cases should be tried by courts for murder or manslaughter and punished. But the question is you have laws on the statute books in Pakistan, which enable the murderers and killers go off the hook by paying compensation to the victim’s families. What I was trying to say in my comment was that our outrage should not only be directed at the culprits and their mentors but also at the unjust and barbaric laws, which work in favor of the perpetrator and not the victim.

    Have you noticed that the mullahs on this thread have suddenly gone quiet because a so-called “Islamic law” is involved here?

  19. December 4th, 2006 12:48 pm

    Deeda-i-Beena, you are right.

    I hope I did not sound arrogant in saying that we will keep an eye out for more developments on this. At a minimum it was to say that if we hear anything more on this we will report it here; more than that it was the hope that as readers hear anything they would share. I have no pretensions that something in this little blog is going to change things dramatically. But somewhere I sustain the hope that if enough of us – in our blogs, in our conversations, in our anger – are and remain sufficiently agitated about injustice where we see it then, eventually, even in some very very small way, we will at least make a nescience of ourselves. For me personally, the saddest attitude is merely to say that ‘this is how it is and this is how it will be; nothing we do will make a difference, therefore lets do nothing.’ We at ATP reject this attitude. We cannot do much, but that which we can do, we must. Even if it is only to highlight injustice when we see it. Call me an idealist (I have been called worse) but I do believe that speaking out is a first and important step in change.

  20. Shahid says:
    December 5th, 2006 2:25 am

    According to a news report things are turning Paki style and the father and grandfather of the six-year- old Afghan boy killed after being hit by a government-owned vehicle in Islamabad last week are being “influencedâ€

  21. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    December 5th, 2006 1:03 pm

    Adil Najam:
    100% in agreement.
    This is a serious Blog of serious and expressive people. If we didn’t do it who would?
    Take heart, it does get around and will make some difference. It is only a matter of time.

  22. Ghalib says:
    December 10th, 2006 11:35 pm

    i guess syed safwanullah shud resign as his car being used by unauthoritative ppl an govt has given him tht 4 wheeler an not to use it as a pick an drop servise to his so called son! its irony! simple irony!!!!!

  23. Dawood says:
    December 16th, 2006 7:11 pm

    Go and take put the nazim of karachi from his beard, pull him out of his office and ask him to exercise his powver and if he dont do it throw him out of power. use your democratic power. This is a chellange to the very rit of paki society.

  24. Samdani says:
    December 16th, 2006 7:56 pm

    Dawood ji, at least read the post…. this was in Islamabad!

  25. MQ says:
    December 16th, 2006 10:00 pm

    And besides, Dawood Ji, the Karachi Nazim does not have a long enough beard you could pull!

  26. Samdani says:
    December 19th, 2006 3:32 am

    Does anyone know what has transpired further on this case.

    Also, I have been recieving a lot of emails about this your IT entrepreneur who has been put in jail on a charge that has been proved to be wrong but now cannot be set free because of ‘technicalities’…. How can that happen!!! So he is languishing in prison:

    http://www.pseb.org.pk/page.php?nid=7

    http://wheelofjustice.blogspot.com/

    Does anyone know what the story really is here?

  27. December 29th, 2006 12:35 am

    [...] Here at ATP we try to be as fair and even-handed as possible. We have praised the police in a number of posts when it has done well (here and here). We try to highlight what is blatantly wrong (here and here) when we see it. Silly attempts to spread lies is one thing; disappearances are quite another. They do not do anyone any good and cause irreparable harm to the reputation of the country, and to all of us. To those who worry about Pakistan’s image internationally, we have asked before, and we ask again: Who is giving Pakistan a bad name? [...]

  28. July 9th, 2007 2:37 pm

    Breaking News. MQM Minister of State for Housing, Mr. Safwanullah, has just resigned. Not clear why, yet. But by way of context read the post above where we wrote about this scandal involving him. By the way, I am still searching for how this particular incident ended.

  29. jennie says:
    November 24th, 2009 11:48 pm

    hi,

    Influential people are doing all the wrong things and gets away easily. We should raise voice against this.
    Jennie

  30. Watan Aziz says:
    December 1st, 2009 9:24 pm

    Any update?

  31. Watan Aziz says:
    November 30th, 2010 7:25 pm

    Vigilance and a demand for information is all that we can do, but let us never be negligent in doing either; because our silence would not just be complacency, it will be complicity.

    Double dittos!

    Where is the Adil of this post? I want him back!

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